Well the first one is always the easiest, for debutants the critics are generally more sympathetic. Idiosyncratic structure accepted as ‘style’, unique phrasing lauded as refreshing, the darkness of the story enjoyed as something genuinely different, something challenging.
And then comes the sequel, the second album, the sophomore effort, the attempted follow on to the well-received debut.
You cannot simply regurgitate the first album, rephrase the same chords, you need to expand your sound, stretch your style – experiment a little.
Reviews are kind, but the second album isn’t viewed in its own merit, it cannot be, it is the sibling to the successful and enjoyed older and established child. Some so loved the original that any variation is a betrayal, some uneasy with the continued violence, and some, a precious few, enjoying the continued ride.
It’s different… but Darks Side of the Moon, part two, it is not!
While Magic is a direct follow on to Thomas Payne, it is a development of the story, a growth of the character from events that have been. Thomas ends, it has a purpose which it delivers. Magic tidy’s up the deliberate lose ends, but then has to move on, has to travel both with Amy and the reader to somewhere new, to something else.
Magic; fairies; satanic ritual sacrifice; sadistic abuse and the loss of love – a romp through the flowers Magic is most definitely not, but then again neither was Thomas Payne.
I take the critique, accept the valued opinion which I purposely sought, and sit now elbows deep in Gotham, aware of what was loved, what was less enjoyed, and hopeful that this will deliver a blend that satisfies me, satisfies the story, and hopefully something that satisfies the reader.
We live in hope.